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Continued: Wildfires destroying homes, forcing evacuations in N. Minn., N. Wis.

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Last update: May 15, 2013 - 9:21 PM

The Salvation Army was at Menahga City Hall during the day serving 200 meals, snacks and water to firefighters and other first responders. The charity will serve dinner to crews Wednesday night at Blueberry Pines Golf Club, just north of Menahga.

“The Salvation Army has volunteers, supplies and extra mobile kitchens on standby at our Twin Cities headquarters,” said Capt. Scott Strissel, leader of the Brainerd Area Salvation Army. “We are ready and willing to increase our service if called upon.”

In Wisconsin, the Germann Road Fire, now burning for two days, is northern Wisconsin’s largest in 33 years, according to the state DNR. How the fire started has yet to be determined.

“With wind out of the northwest, our concern has been the southern and eastern flanks of the fire,” said Wisconsin DNR incident commander Larry Gladowski. “We should have control shortly. It was 90 percent contained at 7 a.m. Now with hot, dry and windy conditions forecast for today, we are asking people to be extremely careful so no more destructive fires are started.”

About five dozen residents were moved to Drummond High School from Loon Lake, Sand Lake, Murray Lake, Potowatomi Estates, Rock Lake, Beauregard Lake, Catherine Lake, Ellison Lake and the Village of Barnes.

The Wisconsin DNR reported 47 structures have been lost, including 17 homes, 15 garages, nine out buildings and six unknown. Firefighters have saved 77 structures, including 42 houses.

Battling the flames have been 19 fire departments assisted by the Wisconsin DNR and the U.S. Forest Service.

There are more than 50 fire trucks on the scene, and they were awaiting the arrival of two water bombers from Ontario and two helicopters from the Wisconsin National Guard equipped for water drops.

The last major forest fire in northern Wisconsin, called the Oak Lake Fire, occurred April 22, 1980, and consumed 11,418 acres of forest.

 

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646 Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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